Donna Marshall Founder of Direct Aid Nepal has just finished building corrals for the elephants of Sapana which will serve as the first refuge site for the elephants who reside here. We have built toys in the corrals, created a watering system for the elephants, new showers for the caretakers of the elephants, painted rooms, the buildings and a general clean up of the property that the elephants will call home until we finish the new refuge. Ms. Marshall has been an advocate of elephants in the United States and in Nepal. This year Direct Aid Nepal provided the support to retire the first residents of the refuge, the foundation also sponsored the first foot care program at Sapana by Carol Buckley. Direct Aid Nepal will be the umbrella organization for this initial startup. Located in the United States it is fully registered Non-Profit 501 3 c.
Dhruba Giri the owner of Sapana Lodge is a forward-thinking Nepalese man with humble beginnings who has come full circle from being an elephant owner for profit to a man with a vision where he sees the overall benefit from retiring elephants from the tourist industry. He is donating over 10 acres of his property needed for the refuge; he is the face of change in Nepal. He works tirelessly to promote education, mobile health clinics, a city-wide recycling project and now an elephant refuge. With the generous land donation we will only need to purchase the remaining property in the area to ensure the land is only to be used for the refuge.
Lena Quenard founder of Assocation Moey has been working with elephants for many years in Thailand and in Nepal; she has trained with Carol Buckley in foot care and welfare care. She was the driving force behind the rescue of Lucky Kali one of our residents at Sapana. Lucky Kali a 60+ old elephant is the first retired private elephant in Nepal. It has been a journey for Lucky, Mrs. Quenard and her mahouts. Mrs. Quenard has agreed to be our first Elephant Welfare Manager at our Refuge. She is also an amazing photographer, capturing many images that helped us with our campaign video.
When we empower and teach the caregivers of the elephants. Treat them with respect and give them the proper tools we can then expect them to do the same with their elephants. We recently had Carol Buckley give a workshop to the mahouts at Sapana Village to learn how to care for the feet of their elephants. We are now sending mahouts to Thailand to learn compassionate training.